The trailer of Lost The Game - revealed for the first time at ComicCon in July - had potential, even if it was a little creaky around the edges. With a look not that far removed from Far Cry, and a structure which seemed to borrow from Tomb Raider, it was a virtual recreation of TV's best/most frustrating show from a developer who rarely put a foot wrong. In short, seeing Lost on the Xbox 360 was palm-sweatingly exciting, even if - in traditional show fashion - we were left with more questions than answers. Until now. This month, we smash open Ubisoft's game-of-the-series, cornering the three key men at the heart of development - producer Gadi Pollack, veteran of Assassin's Creed; creative director Nicolas Eypert, who headed up Far Cry Instincts; and writer Kevin Shortt...
So, let's begin by talking about how Lost The Game came about...
Basically, we brought on Dawn Kelly, a writer on the show, and together with her, our writing team at Ubisoft came up with a story idea for the game that we then presented to the series producers. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost's executive producers) then provided a lot of great feedback and suggestions on the story, and they were always ready to help us find that right balance when we needed to make adjustments to the gameplay. The team at ABC have been collaborative since the beginning, which isn't always the case (with television companies).
We're presuming it uses in-house technology...
Yeah. It uses the GRAW2 engine with particular modifications for terrain (such as jungle, beach). Even though the engine had a great feature set already, it was really designed for flatter urban environments. For Lost, we needed something more organic - beaches, water, and of course, lots of trees, so we've developed tools for our artists to create environments quickly and painlessly. On the engineering side, we are working very hard to optimise every bit of the engine to handle large maps full of very lifelike foliage. The island is a character in both the show and in our game, so we want players to feel that it's alive.
Can you talk a little bit about how it will play?
Well, the game's a third person adventure/survival game, but there's also a first person observation camera so that you can look for clues. There's verbal interaction with the Losties, plenty of action and, of course, mysteries and puzzles to solve. Talking with the Losties (and Others!) will be the main way to find clues and make things happen. However, the Losties won't always be (friendly) to you; sometimes they will be suspicious, threatening and possibly even violent.
You'll have to convince them that your actions are honourable. The action part of the game often comes from the island itself. Your tracking skills will be put to the test as you explore your surroundings, but you'll also have to confront the threats of the island such as the Black Smoke and the Others. We've included some interior locations that will offer you some respite and harbour puzzles such as repairing gear and accessing computers.
Talking of computers, we've seen Locke sitting at the computer in the original Hatch - which presumably means the game takes place before the end of Season 2?
Correct. We begin our story with the plane crash of Oceanic Flight 815; the same plane crash that brought Jack, Kate and the castaways to the island. From there our game takes its own journey, but along the way players will experience many of the memorable moments from the TV show.